26 Apr Avoid and Treat Bladder and Urinary Tract Infections
Here we go, ladies!
You’ve asked for information on Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)…
Men? are you feeling underrepresented on this particular topic?
You’re right – men get them too and treatment is just as important, so please do read on!
Women are 30% more likely to get a UTI than men so there are likely a lot more women reading this blog post. In fact, UTI’s are so common in women that 50% of women will have a UTI in their lives! Since it is so common, it is not something to be embarrassed about; be sure to seek medical treatment if symptoms last more than a day, and be sure to take good care of your urinary health so you can avoid recurring infections.
In this graphic, the orange circle represents all women.
The blue circle represents how many women will have a UTI in their lifetime (50%)
The green circle shows that after a first UTI 20% will have a repeated UTI
The pink circle shows that if a woman has a second UTI she is 30% more likely to have repeated UTI’s
The red circle represents that women who have had 2 UTI’s are 80% more likely to have very frequent UTI’s throughout their lives
The secret, it seems is to avoid a UTI and especially a second UTI!
What Causes UTI’s?
- Gender: female anatomy makes it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder or kidneys
- Bowel Infrequency: constipation is a common cause of UTI
- Diarrhea: bacteria from loose stool can more easily enter the urethra
- Infrequent urination: caused by holding your pee too long, or by dehydration
- Menopause: women are more likely to develop UTI’s after menopause
- Certain types of birth control: use of diaphragms or condoms with spermicide make UTI’s more likely
- Sexual Activity: some women find that increased intercourse frequency increases UTI’s.
- Chronic Medical Conditions: illnesses that weaken the immune system like HIV or diabetes increase the likelihood of UTI
- Urinary Medical Devices: like catheters may lead to UTI’s
- Genetic Differences: unusual urethra shape will increase risks of UTI
How Can I Prevent a UTI or a Repeat?
- Hygiene: The best way to avoid bacteria entering the urethra is to keep it away. Always be sure to wipe front to back so bacteria is swept away instead of towards the urethra. Change pads and tampons regularly during your menstrual cycle, and avoid wearing tampons at night.
- Drink Lots – Pee Often: Drinking lots of water will guarantee you are emptying your bladder regularly and flushing bacteria out. Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. With all those fluids you will have to pee often; avoid the urge to hold it. The more often you urinate the fewer bacteria stay in your bladder. If you can hold your urine for 4-6 hours at work, you are not drinking enough fluids, and allowing bacteria a prime place to reproduce!
- Eat Fibre: Constipation makes it hard for the bladder to fully empty when you urinate so some bacteria is left in your bladder to continue to grow. Be sure to eat lots of fibre, drink lots of water, and take an over the counter aid if needed (talk to your doctor about options).
- Pee after Sex: Intercourse, especially with the use of a diaphragm or spermicidal condom, can introduce bacteria to the urethra. The best thing to do is urinate to clear it out before it has the opportunity to grow.
- Control Sugars: If you have diabetes, controlling your sugars is important to avoid UTI’s
What are the Signs & Symptoms?
- burning/sharp feeling or pain when you urinate
- the urgency to pee really often – maybe not quite making it to the toilet
- cloudy urine
- blood in urine
- lower abdomen pain (just above your pelvic bone)
- pain in your back just under the ribs
- fever or chills
- very low temperature (below 36C)
- in children, watch for bedwetting, or not making it to the bathroom in time
What Can I Do?
For whatever reason, you have some symptoms of a UTI. What now?
Well – if you are a man reading this or if it a child with symptoms – skip this section entirely and book a doctor now. No waiting for you!
For women, at the first sign of UTI start drinking water – lots and lots of water, or other clear liquids that do not have sugar (avoid coffee and alcohol). Every time you pee, drink another glass! You are trying to wash that bacteria right out of your body. You may be able to avoid a doctor and antibiotics by giving your bladder a good cleanse.
To help with abdominal pain, use a hot water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen. You can take Tylenol or Advil if needed, but be aware that they will mask the presence of a fever (a sign of worsening symptoms).
If in 48 hours the symptoms are not gone or have worsened, book a doctor right away. The sooner you treat it the better.
When to See a Doctor?
You’ve been drinking water like a crazy person and it feels like you’re spending half your day in the washroom, but that UTI is hanging on. It has been 24-48 hours now so it is time to make a doctor’s appointment. Make sure you can get in very quickly. This is not the time to wait for your favorite doctor for 3 weeks! You need treatment ASAP! Head to a walk-in clinic, urgent care, or book a virtual doctor for quick care.
Can’t get a doctor fast enough at your clinic? Book With Sabe Wellness at www.SabeWellness.ca